Business buzzwords generator at the WSJ

Our modest contribution to horizontally push the envelope for thought leaders: Business Buzzwords Generator

On the discourse of being

Words often fail us and prove inadequate in the face of the most profound human experiences, whether tragic, ecstatic, or sublime. And yet it is in those moments, perhaps especially in those moments, that we feel the need to exist for lack of a better word, either to comfort or to share or to participate. But the medium best suited for doing so is the body, and it is the body that is, of necessity, abstracted from so much of our digital interaction with the world. With our bodies we may communicate without speaking. It is a communication by being and perhaps also doing, rather than by speaking.

Of course, embodied presence may seem, by comparison to its more disembodied counterparts, both less effectual and more fraught with risk. Embodied presence enjoys none of the amplification that technologies of communication afford. It cannot, after all, reach beyond the immediate place and time. And it is vulnerable presence. Embodied presence involves us with others, often in unmanageable, messy ways that are uncomfortable and awkward. But that awkwardness is also a measure of the power latent in embodied presence.

Embodied presence also liberates us from the need to prematurely reach for rational explanation and solutions — for an answer. If I can only speak, then the use of words will require me to search for sense. Silence can contemplate the mysterious, the absurd, and the act of grace, but words must search for reasons and fixes. This is, in its proper time, not an entirely futile endeavor; but its time is usually not in the aftermath. In the aftermath of the tragic, when silence and “being with” and touch may be the only appropriate responses, then only embodied presence will do. Its consolations are irreducible. This, I think, is part of the meaning of the Incarnation: the embrace of the fullness of our humanity.

Words and the media that convey them, of course, have their place, and they are necessary and sometimes good and beautiful besides. But words are often incomplete, insufficient. We cannot content ourselves with being the “disincarnate users” of electronic media that McLuhan worried about, nor can we allow the assumptions and priorities of disincarnate media to constrain our understanding of what it means to be human in this world.

via The Frailest Thing.

L’utilisation de l’anglais se banalise en France et dans de nombreux pays

L’utilisation de l’anglais se banalise en France et dans de nombreux pays. Ce phénomène ancien est aujourd’hui porté par la mondialisation de l’économie, dont l’anglo-américain est la langue véhiculaire. Si la classe dirigeante semble l’encourager, des résistances s’organisent. – via Le Monde diplomatique.

Il serait plus précis de parler de l’usage de certains mots en anglais; d’un lexique limité de mots empruntés du monde des affaires ou de la culture anglo-américaine. Les usagers de ce lexique ne sont pas pour autant bilingues. C’est-à-dire qu’ils ne parlent pas nécessairement la langue anglaise. Ils ne l’écrivent probablement pas non plus.

Les résistances? Elles ne sont jamais systémiques. Elles émergent davantage de valeurs partagées. Dans la cas qui nous occupent: aimer la langue, qui veut dire bien la parler et s’efforcer d’en découvrir les richesses et les contours.

On finding your voice

When I was a young man, an adolescent, and I hungered for a voice, I studied the English poets and I knew their work well, and I copied their styles, but I could not find a voice. It was only when I read, even in translation, the works of Lorca

that I understood that there was a voice. It is not that I copied his voice; I would not dare. But he gave me permission to find a voice, to locate a voice, that is to locate a self, a self that that is not fixed, a self that struggles for its own existence.

As I grew older, I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty.

via Leonard Cohen’s Prince of Asturias Awards Speech.

Ray Bradbury on college being the wrong place to learn how to write

Photo of Ray Bradbury.
Photo of Ray Bradbury. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don’t. They have prejudices. They may like Henry James, but what if you don’t want to write like Henry James? They may like John Irving, for instance, who’s the bore of all time. A lot of the people whose work they’ve taught in the schools for the last thirty years, I can’t understand why people read them and why they are taught.

The library, on the other hand, has no biases. The information is all there for you to interpret. You don’t have someone telling you what to think. You discover it for yourself. [via Paris Review.]

Ray Bradbury never went to college.

Declarative sentences: on speaking with conviction

with, like, you know, interrogative intonation.

In an earlier post, Mali talks about what teachers make.

Interrogative Intonation

“People who fondly imagine themselves the subjects of their ‘own’ choices entirely will, in reality, be the most manipulated subjects, and the most incapable of being influenced by goodness and beauty. This is why, in the affluent Anglo-Saxon West today, there is so much pervasively monotonous ugliness and tawdriness that belies its wealth, as well as why there are so many people adopting (literally) the sing-song accent of self-righteous complacency and vacuous uniformity, with its rising lilt of a feigned questioning at the end of every phrase. This intonation implies that any overassertion is a polite infringement of the freedom of the other, and yet at the same time its merely rhetorical interrogation suggests that the personal preference it conveys is unchallengeable, since it belongs within the total set of formally correct exchange transactions. Pure liberty is pure power – whose other name is evil.”

via Peter J. Leithart.